18 votes

Give up your gas stove to save the planet? Banning gas is the next climate push

23 comments

  1. [6]
    spctrvl
    Link
    Definitely worth doing, since we'll need to electrify all that stuff eventually. Unlike electric cars though, this only really starts to pay dividends once you're already getting the majority of...

    Definitely worth doing, since we'll need to electrify all that stuff eventually. Unlike electric cars though, this only really starts to pay dividends once you're already getting the majority of your electricity from renewables, since using the heat from combustion to generate electricity to heat food is only about half as efficient as using that combustion to directly heat food.

    14 votes
    1. tesseractcat
      Link Parent
      Yeah. There's a really great video about this topic by Technology Connections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56DSH8tKUvo. Until we're seeing renewable energy in the areas where we replace gas...

      Yeah. There's a really great video about this topic by Technology Connections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56DSH8tKUvo. Until we're seeing renewable energy in the areas where we replace gas with electric, gas is actually more environmentally friendly.

      8 votes
    2. [4]
      tildez
      Link Parent
      Definitely. I live in Colorado where our biggest source for generating electricity is coal. So things like "emission free" electric cars are actually mostly coal powered.

      Definitely. I live in Colorado where our biggest source for generating electricity is coal. So things like "emission free" electric cars are actually mostly coal powered.

      1. [2]
        emdash
        Link Parent
        Still cleaner overall though. Even when powered by coal. Also, it allows for a centralization of CO2 generation, which makes it easier to pick these things off with more renewable options.

        Still cleaner overall though. Even when powered by coal. Also, it allows for a centralization of CO2 generation, which makes it easier to pick these things off with more renewable options.

        8 votes
        1. tildez
          Link Parent
          oh for sure. I just get annoyed when people tout "emissions free" cars. Like yeah it's better than ICE vehicles but get real.

          oh for sure. I just get annoyed when people tout "emissions free" cars.

          Like yeah it's better than ICE vehicles but get real.

      2. spctrvl
        Link Parent
        There's a reason I said unlike electric cars though, there's an advantage to switching to those even when your power derives entirely from fossil fuels. Basically, power plants are between two and...

        There's a reason I said unlike electric cars though, there's an advantage to switching to those even when your power derives entirely from fossil fuels. Basically, power plants are between two and three times as efficient as internal combustion engines, and electric vehicles are around 80% efficient at turning electricity into motion. So unlike in the case of heating or cooking, you get a substantial efficiency boost by burning that coal or natural gas in a power plant rather than locally.

        Of course, while electric cars still make sense in that case, in most places they're better still, since there's usually a good fraction of carbon-free electricity on the grid, between hydro, nuclear, and renewables.

        1 vote
  2. [9]
    NaraVara
    Link
    When I do get around to getting my own place I've been debating getting an induction stove. I was pretty suspicious of the whole thing, but after getting used to cooking with an InstantPot many of...

    When I do get around to getting my own place I've been debating getting an induction stove. I was pretty suspicious of the whole thing, but after getting used to cooking with an InstantPot many of my fears were put to rest. And they're so much easier to clean, which seems like a sufficient perk all by itself.

    Unfortunately, as far as I've seen induction ovens and toasters are terrible. I'm pretty shit at baking so it's not a big deal for me since a frozen pizza or the occasional lasagna are the only things that ever go in there, but I suspect people who like to bake would want some kind of hybrid.

    Also, having recently moved to an apartment with electric coil cooktops after a lifetime of cooking with gas, I really hate it. You can't even tell at a glance which burner is hot. There have been numerous times I've accidentally turned on the wrong burner and didn't notice until it starts glowing and radiating heat into the room. I'm shocked my building isn't on fire more often. Induction burners, I would think, would be a huge improvement in safety since they don't actually heat up unless something magnetic is on them.

    Presumably they could even be designed with a safety-off or warning alarm if there is a weight sensor on the range that thinks it's empty or a temperature sensor that notices something getting TOO hot due to being left unattended. I resent nanny-tech in general, but think of the savings on homeowner's insurance!

    9 votes
    1. [4]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      Dear lord. I made the transition from coils to glass top and you are living in my dream world. Don't ever make the leap to glass. I know it's tough making the jump from gas but it can always get...

      Also, having recently moved to an apartment with electric coil cooktops after a lifetime of cooking with gas, I really hate it.

      Dear lord. I made the transition from coils to glass top and you are living in my dream world. Don't ever make the leap to glass. I know it's tough making the jump from gas but it can always get worse. Once you get used to the (lesser) granularity of changing the heat levels on the coils and how slow they cool, you begin to manage cooking nearly as well as with gas tops.

      As for your safety concern, I don't know what model of stove you have but most of them have a "One of the coils is currently turned on and hot" light to warn users they've left the stove on. You shouldn't need an open flame to tell you which coil is going unless its a cheap budget stove.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Uf! You have my sympathy. My big frustrations with electric ranges is how little control you have over fine temperature control. They take too long to heat up or cool down and it's a pain in the...

        I made the transition from coils to glass top

        Uf! You have my sympathy. My big frustrations with electric ranges is how little control you have over fine temperature control. They take too long to heat up or cool down and it's a pain in the ass. Apparently induction addresses this, so my only real concern there is that I'll scratch up the plastic/glass tops by scraping iron pans across them over time.

        "One of the coils is currently turned on and hot"

        Yeah but it only tells you ONE of the coils is on, but not which. Usually the issue ends up being that there is a pan on one and a kettle on the other and we'll accidentally turn on the pan when we intended to turn on the kettle without noticing until later. It's an easy mistake to make when you're distracted and busy.

        Also I'm in a 150 year old, rent-controlled building, so budget stoves are a given unfortunately. But if it keeps the rent low I'm good with it.

        5 votes
        1. Octofox
          Link Parent
          I have had one of these induction cooktops for a few years now and there is not a single scratch on it. I have been at hotels which have really scratched up cooktops so it must depend on which...

          so my only real concern there is that I'll scratch up the plastic/glass tops by scraping iron pans across them over time.

          I have had one of these induction cooktops for a few years now and there is not a single scratch on it. I have been at hotels which have really scratched up cooktops so it must depend on which brand you get and how hard the glass is.

          Overall this thing is really nice and cleaning it is trivial.

          1 vote
      2. rkcr
        Link Parent
        My electric stovetop (that I also hate, and plan to get induction soon) has a mode that auto-disables any burner that doesn't have a pot on it after a few seconds. Induction ranges are even...

        As for your safety concern, I don't know what model of stove you have but most of them have a "One of the coils is currently turned on and hot" light to warn users they've left the stove on. You shouldn't need an open flame to tell you which coil is going unless its a cheap budget stove.

        My electric stovetop (that I also hate, and plan to get induction soon) has a mode that auto-disables any burner that doesn't have a pot on it after a few seconds. Induction ranges are even better, since they basically don't run unless they can sense some magnetic pull.

        4 votes
    2. [3]
      Greg
      Link Parent
      I'm guessing you meant electric ovens in general, since I don't think I've seen an induction one (and for good reason!), but in my experience there are plenty of excellent ones out there. I chose...

      Unfortunately, as far as I've seen induction ovens and toasters are terrible. I'm pretty shit at baking so it's not a big deal for me since a frozen pizza or the occasional lasagna are the only things that ever go in there, but I suspect people who like to bake would want some kind of hybrid.

      I'm guessing you meant electric ovens in general, since I don't think I've seen an induction one (and for good reason!), but in my experience there are plenty of excellent ones out there. I chose to go with gas hob/electric oven when refitting my kitchen and I haven't regretted it for a second.

      There is a small fundamental difference between gas and electric ovens since gas produces some water vapour as it burns, which in turn changes the thermal characteristics slightly compared to completely dry electric heat, but if you're relying on this at a professional level you're probably using an electric oven with controlled steam injection anyway. For most consumer use, the drier and more even heating of a normal electric oven is generally preferable.

      If you moved from a high quality gas oven to a poorly designed electric I can totally see that you'd reasonably assume the fuel was at fault, though.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Yeah, the ones I've seen had induction burners on top and electric heat for the oven, but they were all fairly cheap models. I hadn't considered the water vapor thing from gas. Most of my oven...

        I'm guessing you meant electric ovens in general, since I don't think I've seen an induction one (and for good reason!)

        Yeah, the ones I've seen had induction burners on top and electric heat for the oven, but they were all fairly cheap models. I hadn't considered the water vapor thing from gas. Most of my oven cooking has actually been making biryani or stew, so I guess I wouldn't have noticed since there is so much steam in there anyway. Part of it might just be that I learned how to cook with gas from when I was a wee lad, and my mother taught me how to cook by "feel" rather than precise measurements, temperatures, or timings or anything (hence why I'm shit at baking). So I probably have a harder time trying to adapt to tools that work differently compared to someone with a more "scientific" understanding of it since it throws all my instincts off.

        2 votes
        1. Greg
          Link Parent
          That makes sense - I'm much more on the scientific side, as you put it, but it's still exactly why I went for gas burners because there's a lot of feel and feedback when you're standing over a...

          That makes sense - I'm much more on the scientific side, as you put it, but it's still exactly why I went for gas burners because there's a lot of feel and feedback when you're standing over a pan. When it comes to the oven my main goal is that it gets the same results unattended every time, so I'm all about the precision there.

          1 vote
    3. mat
      Link Parent
      Induction hobs are the absolute shit. I spent a long time cooking on various gas hobs, most of which I liked, but induction blows them all away. More power, more controllable and holy shit is...

      Induction hobs are the absolute shit. I spent a long time cooking on various gas hobs, most of which I liked, but induction blows them all away. More power, more controllable and holy shit is cleaning up fast and easy. Just wipe down the glass and you're done, none of that awful messy cast iron stuff and corners for gunk to get into.

      I would never want anything else now. The only downside is that I had to have a whole new circuit installed because the power demands can be relatively high (my range is served by a 65A breaker - but that is five induction burners, a grill and two ovens). But I think given the increase in efficiency - no heat running up the sides of the pans and away into the air - joule-for-joule induction is still more efficient than gas.

      My ovens are traditional electric and y'know, they're ovens. Works fine.

      Our electricity is all renewably sourced as well, which is a plus.

      1 vote
  3. [8]
    ubergeek
    Link
    It doesn't make too much sense to switch to electric for heat generation, until most of our power comes from non-fossil fuels. You loose too much efficiency. You would burn more fossil fuel from a...

    It doesn't make too much sense to switch to electric for heat generation, until most of our power comes from non-fossil fuels. You loose too much efficiency. You would burn more fossil fuel from a coal or nat gas plant, than you would to power your stove.

    There are some things fossil fuels are good for: Making a fire. Converting fire --> mechanical energy --> electricity --> heat is rather wasteful when you just need to make "heat".

    So, in the US it doesn't make sense yet. In Europe? Probably.

    7 votes
    1. chembliss
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      In Europe probably, but one has to be careful about the consequences for everyone before legislating. For example, it makes sense that mountain and rural areas with a deficient electric network...

      In Europe probably, but one has to be careful about the consequences for everyone before legislating. For example, it makes sense that mountain and rural areas with a deficient electric network should be provided first with better access to electricity. Also, maybe giving economic incentives for the switch could be appropriate if most people still using gas are on the poorer side, as it happens where I live.

      2 votes
    2. [4]
      rkcr
      Link Parent
      Everyone agrees that electric is not as efficient as gas for heat generation. But that's not the point - the argument here is that using electric allows you to use renewables for your energy...

      Everyone agrees that electric is not as efficient as gas for heat generation. But that's not the point - the argument here is that using electric allows you to use renewables for your energy source, rather than sources that emit greenhouse gases.

      1. [3]
        ubergeek
        Link Parent
        You only get to use renewables for it, if renewables are used to generate power. In the US, we still primarily generate electricity via non-renewable fossil fuel, is my point. So, in the US, using...

        You only get to use renewables for it, if renewables are used to generate power. In the US, we still primarily generate electricity via non-renewable fossil fuel, is my point.

        So, in the US, using electric instead of gas to produce heat is putting more carbon into the air than using natural gas or propane. At this time. Eventually, the balance will tip, but we're not there yet.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          rkcr
          Link Parent
          I agree with your basic point - don't replace gas with electricity unless it's via renewables - but I think it's a bit more subtle than that, because renewable adoption is a moving target. For...

          I agree with your basic point - don't replace gas with electricity unless it's via renewables - but I think it's a bit more subtle than that, because renewable adoption is a moving target.

          For example, my current furnace is going to need to be replaced soon (in the next couple years). Furnaces have a lifespan of ~20 years, so if I decide to go with a gas furnace, that's me signing up for a significant use of natural gas until 2040. Maybe I don't have renewable now, but what if it comes in a few years?

          It's not a crazy thought - I live in Minnesota, which had a goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025. We hit that target last year - 7 years early! - not because we were crazy ambitious, but because the economics is tipping in renewables' favor. Solar and wind are often cheaper than coal now!

          (In truth, I've fudged the story a bit, because I already get all my electricity from renewable sources, but you get the idea.)

          2 votes
          1. spctrvl
            Link Parent
            You don't even need your electricity to be 100% renewable. Roughly speaking, you come out ahead with electric cooking and heating once the electricity mix is around 50% carbon free, and the US as...

            You don't even need your electricity to be 100% renewable. Roughly speaking, you come out ahead with electric cooking and heating once the electricity mix is around 50% carbon free, and the US as a whole is already at 35%.

    3. [2]
      Rocket_Man
      Link Parent
      You're right it might not make much sense to switch existing houses, but it might make sense to require it in new buildings. Easier to do it now in preparation for renewable energy than try and...

      You're right it might not make much sense to switch existing houses, but it might make sense to require it in new buildings. Easier to do it now in preparation for renewable energy than try and switch later.

      1. ubergeek
        Link Parent
        Nah. It's a matter of how the power is obtained, grid-wide that will tell us when the balance will tip. I don't think it'd be over the lifetime of the appliance that need switching. Not yet.

        Nah. It's a matter of how the power is obtained, grid-wide that will tell us when the balance will tip. I don't think it'd be over the lifetime of the appliance that need switching. Not yet.

        1 vote